ToolZeit – Skip Math!

ToolZeit – Skip Math!

I learned two very important things while watching this ToolZeit podcast about a game called Skip Math. The first thing I learned was how to play the game, some pros and cons, and suggestions for its use in the classroom. The second thing I learned is that I do not like podcasts with video! I was incredibly distracted throughout the entire podcast- I found it impossible to follow what the hosts were saying while something different was happening on the screen. For example, one of the hosts was introducing the basics of the game, but what I was seeing on the screen was the other host taking a screenshot of himself and manipulating the image into an avatar. 

I enjoy audio podcasts, particularly sports-related podcasts, and I could probably handle a video podcast if the hosts used still images over their narration when they were off-screen (think Reading Rainbow, when the kids recommend the books at the end). I realize that not everyone will respond to video podcasts like I did; in fact, I would be highly surprised if I was not in the minority here. I watched a few other ToolZeit videos and I thought it was a great concept- essentially, they select education-related apps or gadgets and review them on camera. Their reviews are comprehensive and helpful, and the hosts are fairly natural in front of the camera, but I just couldn’t get past the distraction of having two different things going on simultaneously. For now, I think I’ll stick to audio podcasts.

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Initially, I visited the Langwitches Blog (www.langwitches.org) but found it to be terribly cluttered and confusing. Perhaps this is an indication of my “novice” status as a blogger! I selected the blog of Wesley A. Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity. It appeared to be much more user-friendly, and I was pleased to discover that it also contained a wealth of useful and interesting information. The blog posts are constructed in the style of website articles, with embedded videos and other pertinent media. At the bottom of each post, there are links to related articles on both Fryer’s blog and on sites around the web. There was one feature with which I was particularly impressed, and I will ask that you forgive my inability to describe it in proper “blog language”. On the side of the screen, Fryer’s blog had a list of entries from the past month. These entries had the highest number of comments out of all the entries posted in that month. Generating discussion is always encouraged in the educational community, so it seemed very practical to have such a list readily available. Overall, I found this blog to be easy to navigate and a wonderful source of information and activities.